“Former BBC executive Paul Campbell launched a new company in the United Kingdom in 2007, looking for ways to help musicians find a wider audience for their work. He established a website allowing select unsigned acts to upload their music, sell it — and keep the proceeds. Two years later, Campbell founded a radio station using a playlist built exclusively from the offerings on his site. He further developed his audience by adding a few shows carefully curated by a mix of ex-BBC and up-and-coming DJs. The result: Amazing Media, a powerful promotional machine that has become one of the A&R community’s most crucial tools for developing new talent and has helped propel the likes of Chvrches, Daughter and Alt-J to deals with major or independent labels.
Now, five years later, Campbell is launching in the United States. He has raised $9 million in funding with backing from investors including Sting, AOL founder Steve Case, producer Billy Mann, music lawyer John Frankenheimer and former EMI CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti. They’re joining a board to be run by former Shazam chairman John Pearson.
As part of its launch stateside, Amazing Media has acquired Boston-based OurStage.com for an undisclosed sum. OurStage gives fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite unsigned performers on the site — and allows bands to compete for the chance to tour with more established acts.”
I don’t know why I’m surprised. In this day and age, it seems musicians are doing just about everything, and as much as Keith Richards is probably one of the last people I’d peg to write a children’s book, it seems I’d be wrong. Billboard reports that Richards’ story, Gus & Me: The Story Of My Granddad and My First Guitar, details Richards’ own relationship with his grandfather, Gus Dupree. Illustrations will come from his daughter, Theodora Richards (ok, so that’s kind of sweet), and the book will be released this fall. Barnaby Harris and Bill Shapiro will assist in the writing, so I guess we don’t have to worry about any of that drug abuse and debauchery that appeared in his memoir, Life, popping up. Keep an eye out for Richards’ book, released on Little Brown Books For Young Readers this fall.
Billboard today has a piece regarding the highs and (more recently) lows of American Idol and the show’s upcoming season. It rather sadly exposes the whole production as a microcosm of the floundering, old-school end of the music industry. The players are scrambling behind the scenes to figure out why ratings plummeted in later seasons, changes are being made, and the faces of the show are desperately trying to make us remember Idol‘s former glory as a ratings bonanza and a legitimate factor in the music industry. Harry Connick Jr., a former mentor and now judge on the show (along with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban), says:
Remember when they came out with new Coke and everybody was upset by it? It couldn’t have teed up the return of Coke Classic any better. When Coke Classic came out, it exploded even bigger than it was before because it created this void and people missed it. And I think that’s what this year can potentially do for this brand. People sort of missed their classic ‘American Idol.’ And it’s back.
Yeesh. New executive producer Per Blankens, who had great success running the Swedish version of the show, similarly stresses a “back to basics” formula. We think that this is the best show there is — the original that’s inspired others,” he says, “so it’s not that viewers necessarily want that big gimmicky change in order to come back to the TV couches. They want to see the show they’ve grown to love.
Speaking to Billboard associate director of charts Keith Caulfield, Swift said, “We got a lot already. There are probably seven or eight [songs] that I know I want on the record. It’s really ahead of schedule for me. I’m just stoked because it’s already evolved into a new sound, and that’s all I wanted. And I would have taken two years to make that happen, but it just kind of happened naturally, so that’s all I could really ask for.”
Swift also took home the awards for Country Album of the Year and Favorite Female Country Artist. Check out the full list of winners here.
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Country star Kenny Chesney woke up this morning to learn that his sixteenth studio album was the most popular album in America. I cannot begin to know what the feels like, or what it’s like to write sixteen albums worth of material, but I bet he has a smile on his face.
Life On A Rock 153,000 copies in its opening week, bumping Michael Buble’s To Be Loved out of the top position. The release is not Chesney’s first number one, but selling 150k in a week in 2013 is worthy of a standing ovation in its own right.
You can view the top 10 albums of the week below. Chesney may want to enjoy his reign while it lasts because next week the star-studded soundtrack for The Great Gatsby hits the charts and it hasn’t left the top of iTunes in 3 days. (more…)
The return of Fall Out Boy has been impossible to avoid since PropertyOfZack first broke the news in late January. The band has essentially graced every stage they could find, especially if there were cameras nearby, and now they have a new #1 album to add to their growing list of accolades.
Billboard has revealed the boys from Chicago have topped the best-selling album charts by moving 154,000 units of Save Rock And Roll in its first week. This number inched out fellow Chicago native Kid Cudi who charted #2 with his latest, Indicud. (more…)
Just a week after hitting the point where a viral sensation becomes a viral annoyance to many (see: any of the hundreds of videos released daily), Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” has found itself debuting atop the Billboard Hot 100 with barely any radio play or exposure outside the internet.
So how did this happen?
Starting this week, Billboard has begun factoring YouTube streams into their charts. It’s a transition that has been a long time coming, as many people now choose the video service when hoping to listen to free music online, and the impact of the switch needs no further explanation. Now when a video or song goes viral, the charts will reflect it, and no one has more traction in the music video space right now than Baauer. He has yet to release a video himself, but the countless dance memes made featuring his music has done most of the leg work for him. Those unfamiliar with the song and meme can stream videos featuring each, below. (more…)
With all those Grammys she won in early 2012, it comes as no surprise that powerhouse soul/pop singer Adele has been dubbed Entertainer Of The Year by Associated Press. Not just singer of the year, or musician, but entertainer. That means she even beat out that guy down the street with the flaming hula hoop and the unicycle! And let me tell you, that guy is one hell of an entertainer. AP readers and staff rated her far above other major entertainers and celebrities such as Taylor Swift, E.L. James (author of Fifty Shades of Grey), PSY, and the entire Twilight cast. Now that’s some high praise.
While she did not release a new album or do a world tour this year, Adele’s singles from 2011 still remain among the most highly played tracks on radio, television, in movies, and more. We seemingly can’t get enough Adele. Her most recent accomplishment, apart from delivering a baby, of course, is the single “Skyfall,” written to be the title theme of the new James Bond film. According to Billboard, “The song recently received a Golden Globe nomination. No Bond theme has ever won the best original song Oscar, but given Adele’s awards success thus far, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think she has a chance of changing that.” Regardless of whether she wins or not, Adele has still achieved more in one year than most entertainers do in their lifetime.
If you like Adele, then check OurStage artist Brittany Campbell.
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It’s not often that an independent artist has their music featured on national television, reaches the Top 10 on the Australian iTunes charts, or gets the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at Giants Stadium. But there’s one incredible female artist who has done it all (and more), and that’s New York native and OurStage’s own, Jes Hudak.
After learning piano at a young age, and first performing live at only 13 years old, Hudak took the world by storm by recording, producing, and self-releasing two albums, all while performing on the same stages as Maroon 5 and Gavin DeGraw. Since winning OurStage’s Lilith Fair contest in 2010, she’s won the Billboard World Song Contest in Pop, and released “No One In The World,” which became an AOL Featured Music Video of the Day.
Her music takes the familiarity of catchy pop hooks and combines them with a strong and unique voice, making for a refreshing take on the tried-and-true singer-songwriter formula. But don’t take our word for it. Listen to her track All Mine right here.
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Last night, hundreds of celebrities came together, as they so frequently do, for a benefit event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The purpose of the 12/12/12 concert was to raise money for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Sandy as well as provide hope and support for those still struggling. Performers included Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Roger Waters, Adam Sandler with Paul Schaffer, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, The Who, Kanye West, Billy Joel, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and probably the most talked-about performance of the night, Paul McCartney with the surviving members of Nirvana for their first reunion in twenty years.
According to Billboard, it was a powerful night of poignant entertainment, as many of the performers were from the New York/New Jersey area and chose songs that specifically related to the event. Springsteen did a Medley of “My City In Ruins,” “Working On A Building,” and Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl.” His songs all hit home as did Adam Sandler’s comical rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” entitled “Sandy Screw Ya.” Click the links below to watch of some of these highlight acts.
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